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Camaro Drag Car Project

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Old 09-26-2012, 09:38 PM   #1
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Camaro Drag Car Project

I figured I would start a thread of my drag car project to document the progress I have made and what needs to be done until its ready to hit the track. I bought the car back in March in York, PA. Car was very rough. For example brake lines ran on the outside of the drivetrain and tranny tunnel, Highway sign was used to close holes in fire wall, ignition box was mounted on the side of the shifter with no markings for the different switches.

On the plus side, the car has a 9"ford rear with 4.56 gears. The rear is a spool as well as Mickey Thompson drag slicks. Turbo 350 trans came with the car. It has a 10 point cage, racing seats, and the whole interior has been stripped. I got it for a hell of a deal and have been itching to get it on the track. Below are the pictures of when i first got the car and some of the rough stuff in it.

I still need to get the car in the chassis shop to get some tabs welded on the roll cage, and a few other minor adjustments. After that I need to wire the car, and start putting all of the pieces back on. The biggest thing that needs to be done is the motor. Putting in a 350 sbc with Scat aluminum rods, Probe industries aluminum pistons, aluminum heads, edelbrock aluminum intake, and a holley carb.

Drag racers that are friends of mine are predicting low to mid 12's.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Highway sign taken off the firewall
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:40 PM   #3
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Looks like a good project car. A drag car doesn't always have to look like a show car. Mine has been gutted out for over 10 years now. I always say if it's not required for speed or safety, get rid of it. Trouble is, I have to keep adding more things the faster I go. Wheelie bars are going on this winter

That wiring looks rough but you'll learn over time what works and what doesn't. I've rewired my car 3 times and and I'm still doing slight wiring modifications to it.

Although it looks fine, you should get the roll cage checked out to make sure it's built with proper sized tubing. Hate to invest a lot of time and money into something only to find out the cage won't pass a certification and needs to be ripped out and redone. You only need a basic 6 point roll bar to run under 11.50. At 9.99 you'll need the full cage. NHRA says the cage needs to be certified at 9.99. IHRA says it doesn't need a certification until 8.99. A certified cage adds to the resale value but certification is only good for 3 years.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:46 PM   #4
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

It is a solid car for the price I paid for it. The rear itself was worth the price I paid. All of the wiring has been ripped out and is all being redone over the winter/spring. Roll cage has an nhra cert sticker that ran out last season. Our Chassis guy is going to go over everything with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is nhra legal and safe.

My father races an 1980 chevy monza so I have learned all about the chassis certs, wheelie bars, racing suits and all the other safety stuff.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

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Roll cage has an nhra cert sticker that ran out last season.
Well that's usually a good sign. It was certified and can probably certify again.

Finding a third gen with a good body to make into a race car for a cheap price is getting very hard. Finding one that's already been a race car is a lot easier. Much of the hard work is already done for you. Buying a roller is always cheaper than buying a street car and trying to convert it into a race car.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Your doing exactly what we have done before for yrs buying a roller at a good price. I suggest you have a list of questions for your chassis guy to pick his brain and then do the work yourself to save on the labor costs. It's that learning curve that will serve you well for yrs. Very Kewl on the buy!!!. I'll be watching this thread from the "cheap seats" as you go through it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

awesome project! sounds like you got a good deal. best of luck, joe
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Originally I was going to do a complete 3rd gen. bought some suspension parts for it and as we dug deeper into it more and more rust started appearing. Got this roller which was a deal. Buying the roller saved so much time and money.

Here is a picture of the painted engine bay painted. We riveted some nice aluminum pieces on to close some holes in the firewall.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

lookin good! very clean. its nice to have room to work on your motor. should make a great project/race car.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Rear Drum brakes are complete and have been put back on the car. Painted the rear and got new rear fluid in as well.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:50 PM   #11
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Looks like a ladder bar car. How did they get them under the floor and if they are ladder bars, why are there still LCA installed?
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Car came with weld in frame connectors no ladder bars. I wish there were ladder bars, would make it even more of a deal.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:50 PM   #13
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Then what I see must be SSM bars. You're one of the lucky ones to get them to work. Read through the message base. It's not a good suspension option.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:22 PM   #14
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

What is your setup on your suspension? We are gonna get the car together and see how it works and if we dont like the suspension set up we will change it up. I have a laundry list of things to eventually do when the money starts flowing in with my full time job after i graduate. I want to put in a fuel cell, quay makes a real nice duel battery box with a 5 gal upright fuel cell. I want to eventually make it a ladder bar car and tub it out. Light years away from that, Penn State has taken all my money set aside for the car so it looks like it will be awhile before I can make any major upgrades other than what I have planned already.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:15 AM   #15
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

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What is your setup on your suspension?
My car is back halved with a 4-link system. I run a small single battery because I use an alternator. With the electrical demands of most race cars, running without an alternator and using dual batteries is inefficient.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:56 PM   #16
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I will be running an alternator with battery located in the engine bay. I want to get the car on the track this year and cannot add more work unless it is a safety issue. Eventually I want to house the battery in the trunk
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:24 PM   #17
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

finally got some cash to put into the car. sold some parts i had sitting around so now i have my chassis work paid for and some other extra cash which looks like it is going to go towards wiring the car once its done in the chassis shop.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:47 PM   #18
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

put a torque arm back on that car!
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:01 PM   #19
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Itching to get the car together and get things ready for the spring. Been waiting to get the car into the chassis shop for about 6 months. The killer is it only needs about two days worth of work between welding tabs on the roll cage for the switch panel, putting a sleeve in the swing out part of the cage on the drivers side, and fabing an aluminum dashboard. Hopefully can get the car worked on sooner rather than later.

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Aluminum dash?? Come on dude...use a factory dash and make a nice gauge panel...everyone is doing stock suspension now...stick with the torque arm and make us proud at TGO!! :-)
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:22 PM   #21
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I'm about to pull the aluminum dash out of mine to put a stock type dash back in the car(probably do a 4th gen style in CF, but still).
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:37 PM   #22
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Just subscribed to this thread.I wanted to add yrs of racing advise.If your spending student loan money on this car,that is a really bad idea.Yeah,don't ask me how I know that.Best percentage rates you can get anywhere on a loan.I know.LOL.But to build a car or race on credit in general is a really bad idea.

Just looking out for ya,

Gary

Still watching it come together from the cheap seats.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:08 PM   #23
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

When I bought the car, an aluminum dash was in it. I like the aluminum dash, maybe I will regret it one day but i do not have the extra cash to buy a stock dash nor the time to modify it for my tach and gauges
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:14 PM   #24
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

@gary- I am a student and bought the car with money from my internship last spring. I have a separate side fund dedicated to the car. Money comes from the parts I sell from the two cars I have parted out. School is the number one priority. I would never use school money let alone loans to fund the racecar. Not building on credit either. For example, I have a 350 block that I want to get done but looking at the price to get it together correctly which is around 2500-3k, that is put on the back burner. I have a 305 to throw in to get some seat time and will get around to the 350 when i start my job next october. I appreciate the advise though.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #25
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

keep school number 1 for sure man. i'm nearly done and am really glad i took it easy this season to focus. i took 6 4000 level math classes this semester, and while it's not over yet, it appears that i've made the dean's list
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #26
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I like my aluminum dash. After the first race on a south facing track, the sun blinded me off the dash. The next race I had a matting on the top of the dash. Been great ever since.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:41 PM   #27
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

@mw66nova I know how you feel man. I am getting my master's of accounting. I graduate in may so I am taking 800 level accounting classes which prep me for the CPA exam. Tough is an easy way to describe it. But with the degree I have a job lined up already and am ready to get racing.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:01 PM   #28
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whew grad school is tough...i've been thinking about it some...not sure i could commit to it before i got some time in the world to make some money, lol! my BS will be in Applied Mathematics, but i think i'd like to pursue engineering if i went for a masters
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:06 AM   #29
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Our driver graduated and was lucky enough to find a job as a teacher.So while he is laid off in the summer,we go racing and in the winter he is working.It worked out to be a perfect situation.School comes first for sure.I came out of [email protected]gement with accounting.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:55 PM   #30
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

im ret. U.S.M.C. 22 years in, Still work.. making Jet Eng parts. with Fri/Sat/Sundays off..

missed going to .school and OCS school..lol.but did get to see the world.
and have fun on the weekends

keep the SSM lift bars/ladder bars..(same thing)
they work! and always use them with the LCA. like they are made to.
car will run straight and hook..even when using a small tire like a 275.60.15.
when installed right. and run with all the parts, you are to run them with..they work.
its when the back yard guys, start deletn parts, ya have probs..

same with making the parts..i make.. i cant make a short cut cuzz RR needs parts in 2 weeks

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:48 PM   #31
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

@gary- I am one of the lucky few to have a job already as well. I will be working in public accounting for one of the big 4. Will provide me with the funds to make small upgrades each year on the car.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:57 AM   #32
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I coined a phase.It's called "The Open Book build". No budget/no time limits.You as you have the funds buy the best parts you can find and collect those parts over open time span.Once it's done is when you figure what it cost.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:30 AM   #33
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

^ I stopped going back and adding the reciepts up a long time ago..........started to do that on one of my first builds, got just over half way through & decided it'd be best if I didn't know exactly how much I'd spent.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:55 PM   #34
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I'm the same way. I have a rough estimate on what I currently have invested in the car but can't give an exact number. Stretch that out over at least the last 10 years with changes and rebuilds and that's a number I really don't want to know.

I probably could have paid off my mortgage a few years ago.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #35
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Finally starting to make some progress here. Picked up a fiberglass hood with a nice big hood scoop on it a few years ago and getting around to fitting it because it is pretty rough. looks like someone took a hacksaw to make it fit. Ran into a small problem with fitting the hood with the front bumper. It seems after making a few quick measurements that the fenders are two different sizes. The drivers side fender is longer than the passenger side which i have never seen before. They are OE parts and have never been altered. Starting to piece together the parts I am going to need for the motor. Its cold as all hell here (-15 with wind chill) but boy i am starting to get pretty excited for the season
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:30 PM   #36
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Been a busy couple of weeks. Over spring break, I put my 305 motor together. It was a street motor before, so I am aiming at just getting some seat time this year and then upgrading to the 350 for the 2014 season. The 305 will then be my spare. It is solid but no where near the kind of performance I am looking for. Some of the aftermarket parts I put on it is a holley 750 carb, aluminum intake, and miledon oil pan. The bottom end is all from the street motor. Pistons, rods, crank, and cam are all being reused. Same heads as well. I am looking for a set of roller rockers with a 3/8th bolt pattern. Any one have any suggestions on what they like.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #37
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Comp pro magnums. Nothing better without going to shaft rockers.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:49 AM   #38
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

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Been a busy couple of weeks. Over spring break, I put my 305 motor together. It was a street motor before, so I am aiming at just getting some seat time this year and then upgrading to the 350 for the 2014 season. The 305 will then be my spare. It is solid but no where near the kind of performance I am looking for. Some of the aftermarket parts I put on it is a holley 750 carb, aluminum intake, and miledon oil pan. The bottom end is all from the street motor. Pistons, rods, crank, and cam are all being reused. Same heads as well. I am looking for a set of roller rockers with a 3/8th bolt pattern. Any one have any suggestions on what they like.
Nice clean build on the 305.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:05 PM   #39
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

Thanks Gary, All of the credit goes to my father. He has been teaching me everything I need to know about racing and putting a car and motor together. He raced an A fuel altered funny car in the 70s in the northeast and has always run sbc's until about 3 years ago when he put a bbc in his monza drag car but he can definately turn a wrench on a small block.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:34 PM   #40
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

that 456 gear is going to put that 305 to the test
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:30 PM   #41
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Car: 1983 Camaro
Engine: 358 SBC
Transmission: TH350
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

End of Summer update. I havent had much time to work on anything this summer because I was studying to pass my CPA exams which I just finished last week. These CPA tests proved to drain my bank account and were very time consuming (8-10hrs a day studying). As of today, I have been waiting 1.5 years to get my car into the chassis shop. I am getting extremely frustrated because I have hit a roadblock. Any NHRA racers out there, do you know any chassis shops in eastern PA? Originally I planned to run the 305 this year but due to the back up in the chassis shop, I think I will just sell the complete 305 and put together my new motor. Was going to put together a 350 but am now changing my mind and am gonna put together a 383 stroker. Should provide more HP and at a very reasonable price. I begin my job at a public accounting firm in 3 weeks and will finally be able to start setting aside some money for the project.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:15 PM   #42
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Car: 85 Silver Iroc, 79 Camaro
Engine: LB9, 500+ ci BBC
Transmission: 700R4, th400 with brake
Axle/Gears: 3.42, hand made 40 spline 9"

Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

That looks like its gonna be sweet when done. I've been building a 2nd Gen for three years now. I have the car still on the rotisserie in my garage. I had a custom 9" made for it. Here are the pics.....

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Yes those are 99 camaro rear calipers. We mounted them to fit with 99 s10 four wheel drive front rotors. Just had to fab up a bracket n spacers.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:46 PM   #43
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

looks great jonesy. What kind of gear set do you have in that 9"? I have 4.56s in mine. Have stock axles tho. Wanted to get a set of mosers but that is currently not in the budget.
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Old 09-12-2013, 03:08 PM   #44
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Car: 85 Silver Iroc, 79 Camaro
Engine: LB9, 500+ ci BBC
Transmission: 700R4, th400 with brake
Axle/Gears: 3.42, hand made 40 spline 9"

Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I have a Moser spool, 41 spline Moser axles and 4.11 Motive pro gears. The car is going to be street legal and I want to be able to enjoy it. I have a built turbo 400 with an ultra bell and a brake. My engine should make in excess of 700 hp so I think I'll have the torque to dig me outta the whole. I just gotta finish this Iroc I bought for the wifey so I can finish my toy!!

Here's how the car looks now.....

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It's gonna be sweet when it's done!
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:27 PM   #45
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

After letting the car collect dust for 9 months, the car was finally taken to the chassis shop to get some long overdue work done to it. Below is a the list of changes being made at the shop:

1) fab aluminum dash
2) fab throttle mechanism
3) weld tabs on roll cage for switch panel
4) weld tabs on front fenders to zeus fiberglass hood
5) roll cage weld touch ups
6) rebuild transmission
7) install new springs to lower the car

I am kicking around the idea of selling the 11.5" wide tires and downsizing to 9" wide tire.

I am sure the above list will grow exponentially until it is all said and done but it is great to finally make some progress towards getting the camaro on the track.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:17 PM   #46
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I stopped by our chassis guys shop this morning to get fitted in the seat and to check out some of the progress that has been made. Since I am 6'1 and 250lbs, the seat needed to be move back 2" and lowered 2-3" so I am able to fit comfortably and safely in the car. The tabs have been welded on the roll cage for the switch panel (See picture) and the aluminum dash is just about finished (See Picture) The car should be finished in the chassis shop in the next 3-4 weeks. Once I get the car back it is time to paint the roll cage and the interior floors. After that is complete, we mount the gauges, tach, and MSD and begin to wire the entire car. The front suspension will also be taken apart and upgraded: Comp Engineering struts and shocks will be replacing the OE as well as new springs. The progress has been slow but steady. Looking forward to working more on the car once it is finished in the shop.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #47
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I have a 3rd gen with SSM bars on it, mine works fine. I installed them 15 years ago and have slowly upgraded a few things but the SSM system works fine for me. I did change to coilovers mounted to a crossmember and removed the panhard bar and used a diagonal track bar. You need to remove the LCA's for the SSM setup to work. You can't have 2 different arms at 2 different arcs they will fight each other. The original instructions are a little vague, I still have them. At the time when I bought my kit they were still in business and I spoke to them about it. The reason you use the LCA's during assy is to locate the rear, then you remove them.
My car launches straight and hard with the wheels up with no problem. I have 29x10.5W Hoosires on it now with 5.5bs 10" wheels. i've had 29x12's on it with no problem. I can easily go to 6.5"bs now with the coil springs gone and the panhard bar brackets gone.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:00 AM   #48
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

The car should be done in the shop in the next week or so. Had a few set backs with moving the seat. After consulting with the chassis builder, we decided to replace the racing seat that was in there due to safety concerns. The seat that was in there was mounted rather high. When i sat in the seat (W/O seat liner) my head with a helmet on was just above the roll cage. The seat had an adjustable track from the previous owner which was adding that extra height. I purchased and received a new Kirkley Aluminum Seat. This way I will sit comfortably in the seat and there will be no safety concerns.
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:50 PM   #49
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Car: 1983 Camaro
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

I am finally going to pick up the car this weekend. After over a 2 year wait to get in the chassis shop and 3 months in the shop, the car will finally be trailered home Sunday. I have not seen the car in almost 2 months so I am very anxious to see the progress. I will be sure to take plenty of pictures and post them up sometime Sunday. I am already scheduling and planning the next steps (Scheduling is necessary due to the car being 45 min from where I live). First will be to vacuum the entire inside and prep for paint. The entire interior will be painted (roll bar, floor pans, trunk). More to come in the next few days.

I am still kicking around paint colors for the cage and interior. Any thoughts or Suggestions? I was thinking black for cage and dark gray for the rest of the interior or Gray cage and black floorpans and trunk.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:36 PM   #50
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Car: 87 IROC L98
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Re: Camaro Drag Car Project

My cage is black but stuff that's black gets hot fast when in the sun. Sitting in the staging lanes with the sun beating down while in a 2 layer fire suit makes you want to call it a day and go have a beer.
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